Feedback helps staff members grow. It keeps them on track. It catches missteps early. And it’s a source of satisfaction for those on the receiving end of it. Feedback practiced regularly is one of the best tools a boss can employ daily, periodically and as part of performance reviews and career discussions.
Below, I’ve listed some questions that managers can ask themselves to improve the quality and frequency of the feedback they give — both on a day-to-day basis and in the long term.
- How do you seek information, clarify problems, explore alternatives and help staff members focus? Ask open-ended, non-judgmental questions when seeking clarification and understanding. When asking a staff member for alternatives or to focus, be willing to contribute your ideas to the conversation.
- How well do you listen to understand what staff members are thinking and feeling, what ideas they have and what they’re asking of you? Encourage staffers when you talk with them, and summarize what they’ve said to show that you’re listening and to make sure that you grasp their ideas.
- How well do you know staff members as individuals — what motivates them, what skills they possess, their work habits, idiosyncrasies, improvement goals?